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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 06:08 PM ET, 09/13/2012

Group petitions Sun-Times over sexist questions

It’s not just that the Chicago Sun-Times asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan whether she could juggle a possible governorship with the demands of bringing up two young children. Such an errant, though sexist, question might well have gone unnoticed.

But the Sun-Times — via reporters Dave McKinney, Fran Spielman and Natasha Korecki — just wouldn’t let the sexism drop. A passage from the Sept. 5 piece about the chances that Madigan would mount a gubernatorial challenge reflects the pestering:

Madigan and her husband, Pat Byrnes, have two young children, ages 7 and 4. She was asked whether she could serve as governor and still raise her kids the way she wants to.
“Wow. Does anybody ever ask that question?” she said. “I’m very lucky to have the support of my family. My husband helps take care of our kids. But, I think more people should ask that of men running for office as well.”
Pressed further on whether she could simultaneously hold both jobs — governor and mom — she said, “I can be the attorney general and do that. There are plenty of women who juggle.”
Reminded that being governor is a lot more demanding than attorney general, she said, “All of these jobs are very demanding. And people who, unfortunately, have to work three jobs and don’t necessarily have health-care coverage — they’re even in a worse situation. So nobody needs to give any pity on what elected officials have to endure.”

The way this blog counts, that’s three sexist questions in a row, in a single interview.

And if there’s an explanation for it, it’s not coming from the Sun-Times. My attempts last week to get an accounting from the newspaper on how these questions-doubling-as-attacks could have been posed in 2012 fetched nothing.

The people at the Name it. Change it. blog slipped into the same black hole.

We have asked the Chicago Sun-Times whether they believe they questions posed by McKinney, Spielman, and Korecki were appropriate and they have not responded to numerous emails and phone calls.

And so Name it. Change it. has launched a petition against the Sun-Times, with the following objective:

We ask the Chicago Sun-Times to affirm that sexism has no place in their political coverage. The Sun-Times should apologize to Lisa Madigan for their sexist story and acknowledge that reporters should not treat woman candidates and politicians differently in their coverage due to their sex.

A simple statement from the Sun-Times — as in, We should have focused on other matters — might do a lot of good about now.

By  |  06:08 PM ET, 09/13/2012

 
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